Let’s look at closing your vacation home. Let’s start with electricity. Your first instinct may be to turn off your electricity and water to save money. This decision depends on where the house is located and what systems you may want to keep running while your property is empty. If you leave your electricity on, you can keep your energy bills lower by unplugging all your appliances while you’re away, including your water heater. If your home uses gas, turn off the gas supply to the house for safety.
Heating and air conditioning may seem like a luxury to maintain when no one is in residence but keeping your house at an even temperature and monitoring humidity can prevent expensive issues such as mold or frozen pipes. If your vacation home is in a hot, humid area, you may want to keep the air conditioning set to 78 to 80 degrees to avoid dangerous mold or damage to electrical devices from humidity. In a cold climate, keeping your heat on even at a low temperature can help prevent pipes and appliances from freezing. The temperature setting you choose depends on the climate where your home is located and the level of insulation of your pipes.
While you may want to turn off the circuit breaker for some systems in your house such as the ones for appliances and your water heater, you should at least leave on the electricity that powers your alarm systems and your lights. You can use an app on your smart phone to program your lights so they turn on and off, which makes your home look occupied and therefore is less vulnerable to thieves. If you decide to turn off the electricity to your refrigerator, be sure to clean it out, put some baking soda inside to absorb moisture and leave the refrigerator door open to prevent mold.
Shutting off the water to the house when you leave the property is often advisable as it reduces the chance of water leakage and subsequent damage. If your home is in cold climate, you’ll need to drain the water lines to prevent freezing.
If you decide to leave the water turned on, make sure that any necessary sprinkler systems are either watched or maintained to ensure they don’t malfunction and create water drainage and damage problems for yourself or your neighbors.
Home Security when Closing Your Vacation Home
Seventy-two percent of all residential burglaries occur when the home is unoccupied, according to law enforcement statistics. While many break-ins happen when residents are out for a few hours, leaving your home empty for a season could leave it more vulnerable to criminals and vandals. That’s why it’s so important to keep the appearance of your property in good condition so it looks as if someone is regularly visiting. In addition to keeping grass cut and the property free of natural debris, you should make sure no mail is delivered and that someone stops by to pick up flyers or free newspapers that can collect and make it obvious no one is home. Make sure when you leave your house for the season that every window and door is securely locked and you’re your dead-bolts are in place.
Installing a security system that you can monitor with your smart phone or internet access can provide additional protection and peace of mind while your home is empty. Motion-sensitive exterior lights and programmable interior lights can also help keep criminals away. In addition to protecting your home against theft with an alarm system, you should make sure your emergency systems such as a fire alarm, smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are operational either with batteries or by keeping your electricity running. Test all your detectors and install fresh batteries before you lock up for the season. If you leave any valuables behind, use a fireproof safe or an offsite safe deposit box to keep everything secure.
If there are neighbors near your house who stay all season, let them know you’re away and give them your contact information so they can alert you to anything unusual at your vacation house. Make sure you have the number for the police and fire department readily available in case you need to call them to check on your property in an emergency.
Insurance when closing your vacation home
Transitioning from your primary residence back to your vacation home can be a breeze when you’ve taken the steps to secure your winter or summer place. Call Fullerton to make sure you have the right insurance coverage for your vacation home as part of your preparations. That protection can give you the peace of mind to enjoy your vacation home and the anticipation of returning to it each year to make more happy memories.